Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Chain of Command Challenge (3) Sometimes it just goes wrong......

We were back at Asgard Games in Middlesbrough for the British second attempt to probe the German defences around Gheel.

Here is the map we are using - a 1:50000 of the area from 1944 with the bottom circle showing the area of the probe action, and the second circle the Green Howards main objective for the day the Gheel Road

and this is the actual area of our encounter

Time wise the clock has moved on to noon on Sept 8th 1944 and Andy Parkes playing Lt Cake of the Green Howards has spent a little time running over this mornings action in his head. Now coming back over the same ground, he has decided to push on as much as he can.

Here is the battlefield with the last houses of the hamlet of Meulenberg and the Doornboom road running diagonally across the table.

Andy's job is rather simple, he just has to get one team off the table on the right hand side at which point the German (Paul) forward defence line will be compromised and he will have to fall back - Simple!

Sometimes it is. Paul was quite happy with his last game, he had beaten Andy back without breaking into a sweat, so his Senior Leader must have been enjoying a bit of a nap when he was rudely woken by the news that the Tommies were back, and that they were already outflanking his position. Andy had rolled well in the Patrol Phase and had pushed forward quickly. Paul had not realised just how far ahead he had allowed Andy to get, in fact his patrol markers were a long way over the table before they were frozen in place. Things were looking bad for the Germans, but at least they had the first move.

Paul realised he was in trouble and tried to race a pair of squads across the open ground to bring the British Jump Off markers under observation and fire.

Andy deployed his lead squads almost on top of the table edge (his objective) but came under heavy fire from Pauls deployed squads and their dreaded MG42s

Three Tommies fell, but it was not enough to stop Andy using the next activation to rally his men and push a team across the line to victory!

Paul scowled a bit but had known that after his failure in the Patrol Phase it was going to be a tall order, and anyway it was better to fall back to the main line of defence than take casualties trying to correct his earlier mistake, so withdrew.

Back at HQ Lt Cake is a little more popular with his CO, but less so with the lads on the Platoon who have now twice taken losses significantly higher than the opposition. On the German side Paul got a severe lecture from his frustrated CO but he went up in the men's esteem due to his getting them out of there before things got too dangerous.

Andy was then given the choice of waiting for the Engineers to get the Bailey Bridge in place before the next attack, which would allow him armoured support but could risk a German counter attack or digging in, or pushing on to the main German positions around the Gheel Road. He decided not to risk the delay, so the next game will be an immediate attack on the German defences. He has plenty of support available (9 points) but he cant choose anything that cant be ferried across the canal in assault boats.

Next game will (probably) be after Derby so watch this space............

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Taking the CoC Challenge (2) - a different perspective

I asked Andy what he thought of his first game of CoC - here's what he said....

Chain of Command … A lesson learnt the hard way!

Having been asked to try out these rules I popped across to Asgard games in Middlesbrough with Ken and Paul for a quick game.

It was based around the successful crossing of the Albert Canal and the subsequent battles for Gheel. As the allied player I took command of 16 platoon of the 7TH Green Howards my local Infantry Regiment and one I had the pleasure of serving with.
As the is based in the North East I took my recruits from the local area.

After rolling on the Character generation I took the guise of a fresh faced 2nd Lt.

2nd Lt Thomas "T" Cake,  Strapping six footer, Queen Elizabeths Grammer school, from Darlington, Capt of school cricket team. Head Boy.

Sgt "Smudger" Smith, "Colonial" Average build. From the Dales.

No.1 Section Cpl "Dusty" Miller, Factory Worker, Average build. From Middlesbrough

No.2 Section Cpl David "Poncey" Williams, Bohemian, Intellectual looking, Average Height. From York

No.3 Section Cpl "Chalkie" White, Grease Monkey, Average Build, Unremarkable. From Sheffield

So first off was the patrol phase which I have to be honest I didn’t understand the concept or what I was really trying to accomplish, which is where it started to go wrong. The idea seems to be to pin the enemy in an un advantageous position so as to make placement of squads difficult., which I didn’t….

(After wards I read up more on this section, on the two fat lardie’s tactics section and believe I’m now more prepared).

So using my skills as a section commander I placed my first section under cover of a hedge, with my Bren group set up in over watch at a 45 degree arc at the corner.
The German’s advanced and my Bren group opened up, which just seemed to annoy the Germans and allow them to spot me. This is when I realised how much the British are out gunned.

(Those MG42’s don’t half throw out the dice.)

My one redeeming feature of the British platoon is the lifesaving 2” mortar which just kept pouring smoke onto the German MG teams. Another problem I had was the inability to roll 6’s which adds to your COC dice and the ability to end a turn (more later).

SO my second section comes into play and I strip off the second Bren team and form a fire base of two Bren teams which came under control of my Platoon Sergeant. My second section under cover of smoke ran for the cover of a building opposite the field. (not a problem I’m covered by lots of smoke….OR so I thought.

The COC dice comes into play and the Paul the German player ends the turn…SO.?
Well off goes the smoke and to the Germans delight there is a British rifle section in the open. Trying to get rid of the mounting markers and the casualties I have just taken my Platoon sergeant takes over two section.

Meanwhile the first section is taking more casualties and I deploy my third section just forward and plaster the German section in front with the help of the two other Bren teams.
Great I thought next turn grenades and a bit of Bayonet drill will soon sort those damn jerries’ out!

This is again where the dice let me down, two sixes by Paul, leaves me losing the next turn and allowing two turns for the Germans to rid themselves of markers and pour on two turns worth of fire, which left the third section in a very poor state.

In the end finding the road to be too heavily defended my platoon retired back to its own lines.

Rolling on the after game table and the opinion of my commander and troops gave me.

CO's opinion "5"
Men’s Opinion "6", 2"
Support I roll a “1”

“So Lt Cake has fallen back. Four "dedders" I'm afraid, with three more sent to the RAP so seven men down (only six as one of the dead is from the spare 2" Mortar. CO is less than impressed and the men are a bit concerned - both need their opinions checking.”

"OK Cake, looks like you have taken a bit of a pasting, but we need to get to the main road, so get your lads a brew, ammo up and try again, I'm sure Jerry is also taking a beating and is ready to collapse if we can push hard and fast. Just remember your Battle Drill"

And with a not so outstanding performance under my belt I ammo up and prepare for  another bash..

Friday, 18 September 2015

Taking the CoC Challenge

Richard Clarke of Two Fat Lardie fame has issued a challenge to non CoC players to try out CoC. Clearly this rules me out as I already play, but my mate Andy doesn't, so I casually asked if he fancied trying them out - Gotcha :-)

Of course now I need something to generate a scenario. The game was to be played at Asgard Games in Middlesbrough using their terrain, but the toys will be down to me and my Minion Paul, so Brits vs Germans is a good idea.

So now for a scenario. The game was going to play Wednesday evening, 9th September, so on a whim I thought I would look at what was happening in 1944, and struck it lucky. Not only is there a viable scenario, it involves Andy's old Regiment, Alexandra, Princess of Wales Own Yorkshire Regiment, or as they are more commonly known, The Green Howards.

In September 44 6&7 Bttn were part of 69 Brigade 50th Infantry Division, along with their neighbours 6 DLI, On the night of the 7/8th September 1944 they paddled across the Albert Canal and started towards the town of Gheel next morning - so a perfect opportunity for a scenario if I could get a bit more details. Not a problem as someone else has done the donkey work - in this case a Gent by the name of Ulf Norman who posted some details on a project he had been working on for the computer game Combat Mission which he posted up here . A little bit of Google Earth plus some searching for on line maps and I was all set...

to be continued